Thursday, January 15, 2004

Oh, Come On

ABC News breathlessly covered this story last night with all the vigor of a Bill / Monica tryst:

Jan. 14 – In his presidential campaign, and as governor of Vermont before that, Howard Dean has taken a tough, zero-tolerance stand on domestic violence, accusing the Bush administration of not being committed to the issue. Yet Dean said he had no idea that one of the men closest to him was repeatedly abusing his wife.

Dr. Dean filed an affidavit on behalf of the state trooper assigned to him in a divorce proceeding in 1997. The trooper, it turns out, had a history of domestic violence. Dr. Dean was unaware of this personal problem.

It goes without saying that domestic violence is terrible, and the cop got what was coming to him – he was fired in December 2000, and I hope he rots in hell. But to expect Dr. Dean to know every aspect of the personal lives of his staff – especially something criminal – is ludicrous. It’s not something people talk about around the water cooler: “Hey, how was your weekend?” “Oh, not bad – played a little golf, smacked the wife around a little; you know, the usual. You?”

I am not making light of the issue of domestic violence. It is a national problem and no one in their right mind can defend it. But this story does nothing to stop the problem. In fact, it exploits it to the detriment of everyone involved for a political purpose. It’s just another grasp at the Rove-fed sniping at the front runner, getting down to the level that Flummery depicts. What’s next? Howard Dean Doesn’t Rat Out Kid Who Took Cuts in Cafeteria Line?